Mariachi Los Camperos was founded in 1960 by mariachi "giant" Natividad “Nati” Cano. His passing in October 2014 was mourned nationwide by performers, students, and lovers of mariachi. In the words of Jesus "Chuy" Guzman, Artistic Director of Los Camperos, "... el mundo del mariachi ha perdido un gigante" (the mariachi world has lost a giant). A traditionalist and a visionary, Cano played an integral role in the development of mariachi music in North America by training and mentoring new generations of mariachi musicians, by expanding the repertoire, and by bringing mariachi performance out of the traditional venue, the cantinas, and into the concert hall. Cano's seminal contribution to mariachi was marked by institutions as diverse as UCLA, where he where he taught for many years and revitalized the "Music of Mexico" program, and the Smithsonian Museum, whose recording label Smithsonian Folkways released a number of albums recorded by Los Camperos, including the Grammy winner, Amor, Dolor y Lágrima. Smithsonian Folkways will release a new album by Los Camperos in 2015.
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